Dear Glass Detective,
Can you tell me, who is the father of glass?
I cannot tell you how happy I am that you asked this question although you may not be all that happy with my answer. You see, this is an area that I researched quite extensively back in the early 90s and I have actually written on this subject several times in the past.
As to your specific question, I don’t think anyone can lay claim to the title “Father of Glass” because it is not clear exactly who first discovered glass and there is a fair amount of debate as to who started making glass first. We do know that glass in one form or another has been around since the dawn of history.
Archeologists know that naturally formed glass—obsidian formed in volcanic activity—was used on spear tips in ancient times. Manmade glass objects date back to at least 3500 BC and glass containers have been around since at least 1500 BC.
As for the processes developed to actually cast or form pieces of glass, some will claim that the Venetians were first to develop the art while many will credit the Mesopotamians or the Chinese. The last thirty years or so have seen a number of tremendous developments with regard to the use of glass in architectural and decorative applications.
And many, like myself, believe the best days for glass, particularly in architectural applications, are still ahead of us. So while I cannot speak to the paternity of glass, I am truly thankful for the many men and women who have developed, improved, and expanded its use over the centuries. Our lives are all the better for their efforts.
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